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Chandra Wilson

You have to see downtown Houston for the skyline, you have to see the famous Astrodome, you have to visit The Galleria and go skating, and you have to take the full ride around the 610 loop. What surprises me about Houston is that even though it’s such a big city, it maintains its intimate town feel. Houston is special because it is the perfect mixture of different cultures, the arts, big city influence, neighborhood intimacy, good old fashioned ranch living and a lot of Texas pride. People will…

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Carl Lewis

Athlete/Entertainer Houston has the cultural diversity that many cities do not have. There is a real love for the arts. The city ranks No. 2 in the country in theater seats and has great museums. I’ve traveled a lot and would consider The Galleria the best shopping in the country. I would consider Houston the best city in America for restaurants—both quality and cost. I moved to Houston to go to the University of Houston. It was the first time away from my parents, so I really grew up as an…

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Bobby Heugel

Owner, Anvil Bar and Refuge James Beard-nominated Bobby Heugel has forever changed the way Houstonians look at libations. The native Houstonian bartended his way through college and developed a drink program that highlighted quality spirits and fresh ingredients while earning a Master's degree in Inter-Cultural Communication. After college, Heugel continued to pursue the craft, turning out creative cocktails at Benjy's and Beaver's Ice House, before launching Montrose's Anvil Bar and Refuge…

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Bryan Caswell

Chef/Owner of Reef, Little Bigs and El Real Tex-Mex Cafe Staying true to his Gulf Coast roots, Chef/Owner Bryan Caswell imparts his love for fishing and the ocean in his seasonally-changing, award-winning Reef restaurant. Diners love the spot's refined blend of locally-grown produce and use of Third-Coast-caught seafood, as do foodies on the national stage. He has expanded his restaurant empire with Little Bigs and El Real Tex-Mex Cafe. Caswell has been named a Finalist for a James Beard Award…

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Chris Shepherd

Chef/Owner, Underbelly Midwest-raised Chef Chris Shepherd spent weekends as a child scouring farms throughout Oklahoma in search of straight-from-the-vine tomatoes, fresh corn and peas. He left boundary-pushing Catalan restaurant to open Underbelly in March 2012, featuring locally-sourced food inspired by the ethnic diversity of Houston. The Art Institute-alum and former Executive Sous Chef-turned-Sommelier of Brennan's brings his farm-to-table passion to fruition at the new spot, which was…

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Constance Washington

Actress, The Ensemble Theatre Jet-setting singer-actress Constance Washington has always been on the move. From a young age, the Texas native--who currently works for United Airlines between gigs--showed a natural proficiency for the performing arts through dance, vocals and music. Though her instrument of choice remains the piano, Washington also plays the bass, saxophone, drums and guitar. Vocally, she recently appeared at Disneyland and also performed at the 2009 Inaugural Ball for President…

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Frank Huang

Concertmaster, Houston Symphony At age 11, Beijing-born violinist Frank Xin Huang performed his first solo with the Houston Symphony. In the time since, the Chinese-born American has gone on to win several international music competitions, most notably the 2003 Naumburg Competition. In 2009, he was appointed the first violinist of the Grammy award-winning Ying Quartet and a professor of violin and chamber music at the Eastman School of Music. In January 2010, Huang began his tenure as…

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Grant Gordon

Executive Chef, Tony's In 2010, Houston native Grant Gordon took over as executive chef of Tony's at the age of 24-parlaying his experience and skills into the top job at one of the city's most venerated restaurants and earning him a position on Forbes' 30 under 30 list. Gordon graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and proceeded to hone his skills at restaurants in New York, Napa Valley and Austin before returning to his hometown. Clearly a quick study, the chef…

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Greg Gatlin

Chef/Owner, Gatlin's BBQ With a culinary family history, food has always played a prominent role in Greg Gatlin's life. But it took some time for the owner and pit master of Gatlin's BBQ in the Heights to discover that the restaurant business was his calling. The Rice University grad was a business consultant before starting a small catering company on the side. Demand for his delicious barbecue grew and when an opportunity to take over a small cottage in the Heights presented itself in 2010…

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Hugo Ortega

Chef/Owner of Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe Mexico City-born Chef Hugo Ortega is living the American Dream. He immigrated from Mexico to Houston and began in the restaurant business as a dishwasher at Backstreet Café. He moved to the kitchen, graduated from culinary school and is now its executive chef/owner. He also crated Montrose-set Hugo's restaurant and Caracol in the Uptown area. There, he's rediscovered the foods of his homeland, serving up Authentic Regional Mexican cuisine and gaining…

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